Unmarried fathers must establish legal paternity in Alabama to preserve their parenting rights. The state presumes paternity only in the case of babies born to married couples.
Review the process of obtaining paternity in Alabama and the benefits of doing so, including emotional and financial security for the child.
When the mother and father agree that he is the biological parent, they can sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. They can submit this form in the hospital after birth or at the county court where the mother and child live. Upon filing this form, the father has legal paternity rights and his name will appear on the birth certificate.
Either parent can also ask Alabama to establish paternity. In this case, the court will order genetic testing for the child and his or her possible father. If this test identifies the man as the child’s biological father, the state will automatically issue a financial and medical support order for the child. The father can also request custody or visitation with the child at this time.
The state may also initiate a paternity action. For example, if the child’s mother applies for a state program such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Alabama will attempt to locate the biological father, establish paternity and enforce a child support order.
The father may want to have an attorney to represent his interests during this process. Depending on the results of genetic testing and other factors, the judge may order one parent to pay the other’s court costs.